On Sept. 3, the Rev. Dr. Hiroaki Yoshimura was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at the Church of St. Mary in St. Petersburg, Russia. The ordination rite was performed by the Rev. Ivan Laptev of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria, with which the LCMS has been in altar and pulpit fellowship since 1998.
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Jastram, LCMS missionary to Asia, wrote about Yoshimura’s ordination in a recent newsletter:
“By far the biggest news these last three months has been the long awaited … ordination of Dr. Hiroaki Yoshimura, the Lutheran Japanese national … who has been such a blessing for our work here.
“After [receiving] his master’s degree in political science from Keio University in Tokyo, Yoshimura earned a master’s and doctorate in theology from Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. Since then, he has been serving as a missionary to Japan with the [conservative] Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland (LEAF), an entity of the [liberal] Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF). His confessional work with the Suomi Lutheran congregation in Shinjuku, Tokyo, has been a significant factor in support of sound Lutheran doctrine and practice in Japan.
“Now, after 13 years of patiently suffering wrongful exclusion from ordination within the liberal ELCF and the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC) due to his steadfast opposition to the ordination of women, Dr. Yoshimura finally received ordination this last month. … His ordination, along with that of his four like-minded LEAF colleagues at the same occasion, has received critical, sharp, Finnish public media attention due to [LEAF’s stand against] women’s ordination, as forcefully required in the ELCF. …
“All this comes during the same year that LEAF has terminated its mission relationship with the liberal JELC due to theological differences and at the same time that the Suomi Lutheran congregation in Shinjuku is entering into its new status as a conservative independent Lutheran congregation no longer associated with the JELC. This Suomi Lutheran congregation … is the site of our English LCMS Worship Fellowship, where we have had such beneficial mutual encouragement for mission work in Japan.”
Posted Dec. 14, 2023